Boeing’s 737 model Max 8 and 9 have been grounded in the United States and around the world after a crash in Ethiopia killed all 149 of its passengers along with the 8 crew members on board. It was the second crash in less than six months for Boeing’s flagship model.
According to Al Jazeera, flight ET 302 traveling from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed near the town of Bishoftu, the airline said, adding the plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Flight ET 302 lost contact six minutes after its departure at 8:38 a.m.
After preliminary analysis of the recovered black box, Ethiopia’s transport minister Dagmawit Moges reported “a clear similarity” with the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia last October. Both planes were found to have tilted stabilizers, and both pilots had requested to return with the Ethiopian pilot reporting unusual speed.
“It looks like the Lion Air, because the flight only lasted for six minutes,” Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam told Chinese state news agency Xinhua. “There is a clear similarity between our crash and the Lion Air crash,” Gebremariam said.
The flight recording data retrieved from the Lion Air flight found a single faulty sensor triggered the new flight control system, initiating a tug of war as the system repeatedly pushed the nose of the plane down, and the pilots wrestled with the controls to pull it back up as reported by The Seattle Times.
Whistleblowers from within the Federal Aviation Administration claimed safety engineers involved in the certifying process of the new flight control system for the MAX were under pressure by FAA managers to hastily approve the system while delegating safety assessments to Boeing directly.
Boeing responded with a statement that “the FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification, and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements,” while confessing “there are some significant mischaracterizations.” Boeing has depreciated in value by $25 billion and has stopped delivering all new Max model planes to customers.